Careful selection of patients to be imaged and the appropriate PET/CT imaging protocol should be a priority of the radiologist/nuclear medicine physician and the referring physician in order to avoid unnecessary repeated exposure.
Image Wisely, a joint initiative of ACR, RSNA, ASRT and AAPM, provides information to the medical community to promote radiation safety in medical imaging.
The 2009 National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, Report No. 160 — Ionizing Radiation Exposure of the Population of the United States — showed that medical exposure to patients is one of the largest sources of radiation exposure to Americans, nearly equaling the exposure from background sources. Nuclear medicine is the second largest source of medical radiation exposure after computed tomography.
The benefits of nuclear medicine procedures are immense and certainly exceed the risks. However, this is only true when they are ordered appropriately and studies are optimized to obtain the best image quality with the lowest radiation dose. Use the links below to find information and resources to optimize your nuclear medicine procedures. And be sure to take the pledge to image wisely!